Student Disability Services (SDS)Western New England University recognizes that each person has a unique learning style and individual physical needs, and therefore recognizes its responsibility to provide equal access to opportunity for persons with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (2008). All members of the Western New England University community work together to ensure equal access for students with disabilities so that they may participate fully in the college experience.
Western New England Peer Mentoring Program: Creating a Community for Learning.
Presented at The Autism Spectrum in Higher Education
Novenber 7, 2012
- Creating a Community for Learning [presentation, .pdf]
- Creating a Community for Learning [.pdf]
- Protocol Example - Maintaining Conversation [.pdf]
In the News
Learn about new technologies helping blind students like Katlyn Kress study the sciences. Read a news story about her on MassLive.
Why should a student register at the Student Disability Services (SDS) office?
Official recognition of your protected status under the law can only begin with this contact.
Who qualifies to register at the Student Disability Services (SDS) office?
Students with physical, psychological, and/or learning disabilities, who can show current documentation, can register at SDS and request accommodations. As appropriate, documentation should provide the following:
- A clearly stated diagnosis of the disability
- The student’s functional limitation in an academic environment
- Signature, printed name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator
- Date of evaluation
Please refer to the “Documentation Guidelines” link for more information.
It is preferable for students to register as early as possible in their academic career; however, registering with student disability services can occur at any time (Please note: accommodations will not be provided retroactively). Participation in SDS is strictly voluntary. The University’s admission process is independent from consideration of student disabilities.
What happens next?
The student reviews disability issues and academic needs with personnel from Student Disability Services. Appropriate accommodations, based upon submitted documentation, on a class-by-class basis and/or case-by-base basis, are discussed. Such accommodations might include extended time for exams and papers, peer note takers in the class, exams given in a distraction reduced setting, audio taping of class lectures, alternative testing formats, sign interpreters, books on tape, etc.
Once the student’s necessary accommodations have been determined, students and SDS staff will communicate these to faculty and other relevant university personnel, via a faculty notification letter.
In addition, students are offered a service of regular meetings with SDS staff to monitor accommodations and academic progress.
When should a student inquire about services?
Inquire as soon as possible! The sooner the inquiry after admission occurs, the sooner the student can register with the SDS Office and discuss appropriate accommodations for the upcoming semester. In addition, depending upon the specific accommodations being requested, the timeliness of this request is crucial to having the accommodations in place when needed. Even if the student does not anticipate needing any accommodations at this time, we encourage the student to bring/send in documentation and meet with SDS staff as soon as possible upon enrollment. In this way, this office will be ready to move with expediency on a request that may surface at a later date.
It is the responsibility of the student:
- To disclose a disability to SDS in a timely manner when requesting accommodations by phone, email or appointment.
- To provide appropriate, current documentation supporting the disability. The documentation must include a report from a qualified professional identifying the disability and indicating recommendations. A high school Individual Education Plan is not sufficient for a complete documentation file.
- To understand the attendance policy and attend classes unless illness or emergency prevents them from doing so.
- To meet the academic requirements of their courses and of their majors.
- To assess the extent to which the accommodations agreed upon and implemented for the semester are meeting their needs and share their conclusions with SDS in a timely manner.
Responsibilities of the University
Through Student Disability Services, the University provides a variety of services to students with disabilities based on individual documentation and need. The responsibility of the University is to provide reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis and to afford equal opportunity for student participation in the institution’s programs, activities, and services.
Students, faculty, and staff are required to understand this policy and utilize its procedures in order to request, authorize, and/or implement reasonable accommodations. A student’s failure to comply with the policy and procedures outlined may result in the delay or denial of services. Accommodation requests and services are not retroactive.
All Western New England University policies shall adhere to and be consistent with relevant federal and state laws, rules, and regulations.
What can students learn through SDS?
- Students evaluate their academic strengths and learn how to use them to their advantage.
- Students have the opportunity to develop areas that need strengthening, such as:
- Listening, speaking, reading, and writing
- Mathematical and organizational abilities
- Studying, note-taking, and test-taking
- Library research
- Time management
- Students receive training as needed on available adaptive lab equipment.
- Student receive individualized tutoring from staff members who are trained to work with individuals with learning disabilities at the University’s Math Center, Reading Lab, Writing Center, Accounting Lab, and Computer Lab.
Dispute of Accommodation Decisions or Process
Students who wish to challenge any part of the accommodations process may do so under the procedures for student grievances outlined in the University’s Student Handbook.
Disclosure and Confidentiality
Student disclosure of a disability is voluntary. Data about students with disabilities is collected at various points of a student’s entrance into the University for the purpose of reporting demographic information, but it is voluntary. Western New England University considers disability-related information as confidential material and will protect it in accordance with the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA). The information will not be released except in response to a student’s request or written authorization, as needed to assist a student with an educationally related issue, or as permitted under certain circumstances in accordance with FERPA guidelines.
Western New England University provides services to support students with disabilities because it is of the utmost importance that all students at the University are offered the appropriate tools to succeed. The Student Disability Services Office can be utilized voluntarily by students and is a free service offered by the University.
For further information contact:
Western New England University
Student Disability Services
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119-2684
Western New England University is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, or disability in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities.
The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the University’s nondiscrimination policies: The Director of Career and Human Resources, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119-2684. Inquiries concerning the application of nondiscrimination policies may also be referred to the Regional Director, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, J.W. McCormack P.O.C.H., Room 222, Boston, MA 02109-4557.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted into law July 26, 1992, guarantees persons with disabilities in the United States protection from discrimination on the basis of a disability.